Catching Fire Gets Tepid PG-13 Rating

catchingflameTo the surprise of absolutely no one, the MPAA has rated The Hunger Games: Catching Fire PG-13, ensuring that youngsters — and, more importantly, their allowances — will get the chance to pad box-office returns.

The official explanation for the rating is “for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language.” This list of moderate elements makes it sound like the board was bumping the film up from a tame PG rather than down from a rougher R.

Again, this is no surprise. Producer Nina Jacobson told Entertainment Weekly as early as last year, months before filming even began:

Suzanne [Collins] wrote these books for young people to be able to read them and discuss them and engage with them, and we would never make a version of the movies where they couldn’t participate in. They were the ones that started all of it and I think they deserve to have the movie be made for them to be able to see.”

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Jena Malone on Becoming Johanna Mason

Photo by Jena Malone

Photo by Jena Malone

“She has this intensity. She can walk into a room and stare you to death.”

That’s how actress Jena Malone describes her character, Johanna Mason, in her next film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the sequel to last year’s The Hunger Games. Johanna is the victor of a previous Hunger Games, and she — along with Katniss Everdeen — is going back into the arena for the 75th Hunger Games. Johanna won her contest by pretending to be no threat to the more powerful players, who considered her weak and vulnerable. And when the others dropped their guard, that’s when Johanna attacked — with axes!

Anyone who knows me knows I’m the furthest thing from fashionable and do not make a habit of perusing beauty magazine websites — but when Jena is involved I make exceptions. And I’m glad I did, because Vogue Daily has an interesting interview with Jena about transforming herself — physically as well as mentally —  into Johanna for Catching Fire. (She also goes on at length about her beauty regime, but you’ll have to go to the website for all that if you’re interested.)
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Catching Fire Trailer Adds Some Sizzle (But Not Enough)

While the new trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is better than the inane “cackling supervillains” clip released a while back, I’m still not as impressed as I want to be. The new trailer still concentrates on the dull victory tour/rumblings of revolution first half of the novel and leaves fans panting for snippets of the actual Quarter Quell. I know the meaty action of the film is being held back for future trailers, but it’s frustrating.

And no, I’m not just disappointed that Jena Malone’s axe-wielding Johanna Mason is only briefly glimpsed… okay, well maybe a little. But it’s not just that, okay?

On the plus side, I can envision an entire “Meet the Victors”-themed trailer that would give us beauty shots of all the participants in the 75th Hunger Games, not just Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). That could definitely work.

Catching Fire: Quarter Quell Character Images

Folks looking forward to this fall’s sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire have had to subsist on some pretty meager crumbs leaking from the film’s production, some “meh” poster images and a… well, a modest teaser trailer. Let me assure you it has been tough to be content with lukewarm  Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson content when the real interest is in the new characters set to be introduced. Especially Jena Malone’s Johanna Mason!

A while back we were rewarded with some excellent and evocative posed character shots in fancy dress that whet our appetites, and now, with a large presentation at the San Diego Comic-Con slated for Saturday, we finally get shots of the victor tributes in their 75th Hunger Games uniforms.

For the most part, these images look great — though I do believe the Photoshop is a bit off when comes matching the head/body proportions for Finnick and Beetee — and make you want to see these characters in action. And I must say the Johanna image was worth the wait…  Jena looks every inch as sexy and dangerous as I was sure she would back when she was first rumored to be up for the fan-favorite role. Katniss (and Jennifer) better watch her back!

First Look at J-Law Reprising Mystique!

Mystique001This is what Hollywood “It Girl” Jennifer Lawrence will look like in the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Director Bryan Singer Tweeted this photo of J-Law getting a makeup touch-up on the Montreal set of the latest X-Men movie. Eagle-eyed fans who… erm, study the photo closely will be hard-pressed to notice the difference in Jennifer’s costuming from X-Men: First Class, but there is a big one: In her first outing as the mutant shapeshifter, Jennifer wore little more than blue body makeup and strategically-placed bits of latex — but this time, she is donning a body stocking that gives the illusion of the same minimal coverage.

The reason for the switch is not some newfound modesty on the part of the newly-minted Oscar winner; no, it’s simply a concession to reduce her time in the makeup chair — reportedly six hours for First Class.

New Catching Fire Poster Doesn’t Spark

catchingfireposterMaybe it’s me, but I’m having difficulty getting behind this poster for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. We see Katniss Everdeen (as portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence) standing atop a mountain with her bow and… well, just standing there. Just like Man of Steel, it’s another promotional misfire.

I think the image is rather static and dull and conveys nothing about the action expected to be in this flick. Also, the look — like it was done with pastels or colored pencils — is… different. The clouds that look like wings behind Katniss are a little too heavy-handed for me. To me, it looks like the marketing people are trying to create a sense of romantic adventure more than set the stage for a love triangle.

The image seems to be going over well with… a certain segment of the fandom, but I’m not a a booster. I really hope this isn’t the final official one-sheet for the movie. This should just be another in the series, and there’s plenty of time to get it right.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens Nov. 22.

Catching Fire Promotional Posters

victorytour01And so it begins… the real promotional push in the ramp up to this fall’s big sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. (But who’s that guy photobombing Katniss?) Up until now, we’ve had to make due with some sexy set photos.

I like the idea of starting with these Victory Tour promotional posters because the campaign feels very organic. In the books, a Victory Tour was de riguer for the winner of the Hunger Games, and of course the Capital would be eager to put the best possible face on the unprecedented dual winners, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson).

Of course, you can never go wrong with plastering Jennifer’s luminous face on anything, so it’s no surprise seeing her looking awesome here — beautiful and brave and heroic…
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Hot Catching Fire Photos

I know there is more to science fiction and fantasy than DOCTOR WHO, so let’s spend today looking over some interesting photos from the Hawaiian set where they are filming the forthcoming movie The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Here we have a bunch of images of Jennifer Lawrence as Hotness Katniss Everdeen, Sam Claflin as Finnick and Lynn Cohan as Maggs. As you can see, some shots are from the beginning of the Quarter Quell, and some appear to be later action. Check out Maggs with Finnick’s trident and Finnick with Katniss’ bow!

I really like the design of the combat suits; I think they’re better than the costumes in The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens Nov. 22, 2013.

Jena Malone May Land Catching Fire Role

Entertainment Weekly broke some great news about that Hunger Games sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, specifically that Jena Malone (HATFIELDS & MCCOYS, Sucker Punch) is being considered for the key role of Johanna Mason, the wily victor of a previous Hunger Games.

Johanna’s weapon of choice is the axe, since she hails from District 7, which specializes in lumber. She won her game by pretending to be a helpless weakling — until she moved in for the kill! In the novel, the character is described as possessing “a wicked ability to murder.”

Jena would be perfect for this role, because she can play very vulnerable, and, with her thin frame and young face, she can look meek, too. But Jena is also wiry, and she kicked trainloads of ass as Rocket in Sucker Punch! No one would doubt that Jena’s Johanna is a threat! Jena definitely has the acting chops to play a terrific foil for Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen.
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